QED 2016: Pursuing Your Own Question

By | Events, QED | One Comment

130 students from all over Chicago turned out for QED 2016. QED is a kind of math festival, with kids posing and answering their own questions. It’s education in it’s purest form. To get a flavor for QED, here’s a list of projects:

Junior Level–5th and 6th grade

  • The Perfect Pool Table: Predicting a Ball’s Path
  • Pokemon Go Pythagorean Theorem
  • Where to Meet to Trick or Treat

Intermediate Level–7th to 9th grade

  • Unattacked Queens
  • Game Theory Through Checkers
  • Five Men, One Monkey
  • City Crime & Safety
  • Algorithm for Recognizing Raga Patterns
  • The Perfect Basketball Shot
  • Bushes, Rupees, and Probability
  • Duck-Duck-DEAD

Senior Level–10th to 12th grade

  • Battlecode
  • Vieta Jumping
  • The Collatz Conjecture in Relation to the Euclidean Algorithm, Fermat’s Last Theorem, Linear Combinations, and Peano Arithmetic
  • Geowrapping
  • Lineup Optimization in Baseball
  • Proving Orientable Surfaces Have Even Euler Characteristic through Graph Theory

The variety of projects was remarkable, and the quality superb. Our judges–PhD students, mathematicians, leading math teachers from CPS, and community members whose work connect to mathematics–were often blown away. More than once I heard something to the effect of, ‘That kid is going to be a mathematician. We need to make sure it happens!’

We owe thanks to our speaker, Eugenia Cheng, and our sponsors, including Citadel and Intel. Our judges also deserve a word of thanks, and last, but far from least, thanks to the sponsoring teachers who supported the students who participated. Check out our photo gallery to get a direct view of QED.

My dream (for the moment) is to have 200 kids attend QED 2017. Let us know if you are interested!


Po-Shen Loh: Math and Creativity

By | Events

Po-Shen Loh, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University, Coach of the USA International Mathematics Olympiad Team, and founder of, is coming to Chicago to give a highly anticipated mathematics talk for a general audience. “Math and Creativity” will address puzzles that don’t look mathematical, but ultimately are unlocked by mathematical insights. Professor Loh will also talk about how to get the most out of math “competitions”.

The talk will take place on Saturday, September 17, 2016, at Whitney Young High School from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. Young’s auditorium is located in the Arts Building, 1431 W Jackson. Whitney Young is easily accessible by public transportation (CTA Blue Line Racine stop – Loomis exit, #9 Ashland Bus, #20 Madison Bus, #126 Jackson Bus) and is close to downtown Chicago Metra stations. Parking is available in the lots adjacent to the Arts Building. If you’d like, bring materials to do some math during the talk! Candy, snacks, and other refreshments will be available for sale.

Admission is free.  The talk will be accessible to a general audience, but is geared toward students in grades 6-12. Parents and community members are welcome! If you are planning to attend, you MUST fill out the following Google survey:

After filling out the survey you will receive a confirmation email that serves as a reservation. Reservations are on a first come, first serve basis.

If you have questions, contact Julienne Au at

See you there!